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Why introverts must nurture a positive self-view

Woman's face

Introverts very often tend toward the negative -- whether in our career, our relationships, or our general outlook on life.

It's a habit of which many of us are conscious, but find awfully difficult to kick, much like smoking and overeating.  

Whether it's because we aren't invited to a gathering (even though part of us might be glad we're staying home instead), we receive a poor review at work for being too quiet, or an acquaintance dismisses us as snobby out of sheer ignorance, such incidents can see our self-esteem take a beating. 

When you view yourself negatively, your actions may be unconsciously affected by that internal negativity, which may prevent you from attaining the happy experiences you desire.

If you feel you're unworthy of a good, well-paying job or enriching relationship, you cease engaging in behaviors that would help you corral those things. You may in fact sabotage yourself by gravitating toward positions or partners who aren't good for you.

Your negative self-image limits the amount of happiness you can experience. 

Imagine your best self in order to nurture a positive self-view. 

When we imagine things, our brains experiences them as if they are real. So when you picture yourself as happy, your brain can construct pathways that reinforce this positive self-view. 

Being positive all the time isn't realistic, so it helps to reframe negative thoughts and situations to make them easier to accept and overcome. 

For instance, I used to view hardships as scary, intimidating circumstances that one should attempt to avoid at all costs. 

Now I see them as challenges that, when conquered, can mold me into a stronger, wiser, and more resilient individual.

In the case of introverts, we face any number of challenges on a daily basis, from people exhorting us to speak up to feeling our energy levels wane when we're around noisy crowds. 

But it's these very situations that should actually empower us to double down on our innate tendencies. 

Rather than shrinking from our introversion, we should embrace it. Rather than gloomily thinking that the world hates us, why not consider that they just haven't gotten to know, well, the real us?

The fact of the matter is that if you don't stand up for yourself, no one will. And if you buy into the notion that introversion requires correcting (i.e., the cure is extroversion), then you're just letting other manipulate your mind and emotions.

There's no reason to feel that you, as an introvert, don't belong -- whether at home, in the workplace, or, more broadly, in this world. 

I know it can feel that way sometimes, but the good thing is that there are plenty of people -- introverts and extroverts alike -- who will appreciate you for who you are. You just have to go out and find then.

So it isn't so much a matter of changing who you are, but perhaps changing the context -- the people you hang out with, the places you go. 

Of course, if you work in sales and frequent bars and clubs on the weekends, it will be more difficult to adapt than if you were, say, a writer who likes to venture over to Barnes and Noble for some reading and coffee.

Think about places where people with your personality and interests are bound to go. The library? The park? Museums? How about a food festival?

The reality is that not everyone is going to be like us. We're going to come across obnoxious bosses, loud in-laws, and the like. Unless we're willing/able to walk away from our job or relationship, we need to do our best to get along with these individuals. The more we can learn to mix in with them despite our differences, the better it'll be. 

If, after doing your best to establish harmonious relations, he or she continues to give you a hard time, then it's time to contemplate having a serious chat or walking away altogether. At least by then you'll know you did everything in your power to make it work. 

I've had to play nice with bosses who've gotten on my case about being too quiet -- too focused on my work -- as if it were a bad thing. At the same time, some friends or girls I've dated have made a stink about my tendency to like staying home rather than being out and about. 

I always remind myself not to take it personally. Their opinion of me isn't indicative of my worth as a human being. It's just how they perceive me, which may not always be accurate. 

If we introverts don't learn to cultivate a positive self-view, life as we know it isn't going to be kind. The more we let others dictate our happiness, the more anxious and depressed we become when they don't meet our expectations.

Happiness stems from within, where you as an introvert draw your energy from. The only person who can judge you is you because no one has been in your very shoes. That's why you should never let what others say darken your self-view. People are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. 

At the same time, we must strive to believe in ourselves. Keep in mind all the times you've set out to accomplish something and succeeded. All of the times you've helped others. All of the times (however few) that someone has actually complimented your quiet disposition. 

As an introvert, you bring wonderful gifts to this world. You're deep, perceptive, and intellectually curious. You immerse yourself in the subjects you love and enjoy sharing your knowledge with others.

Now, even though your batteries run out more quickly than those of your extroverted peers, it doesn't need such batteries are defective. Rather, they require frequent charges. 

In sum, there are many things you can do to nurture a positive self-view, including picturing yourself being happy after you've embraced (rather than apologized for) your introversion. Because only by accepting who we are can we be our best selves. 


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